San Francisco is an ideal location for many sports enthusiasts, providing somewhat mild weather year-round. It has close proximity to the ocean, the bay, numerous adventure trails, and is just a drive away from exploration destinations like Lake Tahoe or Yosemite. Another plus? The rampant dog-friendliness of the city. Now more than ever, our furry friends are able to tag along to offices, stores, and best of all, on outdoor exploration routes. Here are several dog-friendly trails along the coast for you to start adventuring with your canine pals:
1) Fort Funston
A dog haven, Fort Funston is the ultimate destination for pet owners who want to get their dog a solid, social workout off-leash. There are likely as many dogs as there are people, and several loops you take your pup along. Our recommended route: loop from the parking lot down to the beach and back up. You won't regret the views, plus your dog hopefully will enjoy the sand between his or her paws.
2) McNee Ranch State Park
For more striking views of the Northern California coast, take a short drive south of the city and head to McNee Ranch. Park in the lot across from Gray Whale Cove Beach, and begin along the path on the southern end of the lot. For ambitious folks, trek up the steepest trail for sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean - this trail will be highly visible once you begin your hike. With several possible routes, you can venture to the Montara Mountain Summit, or take a more peaceful route along the ranch with different scenes to enjoy. Dogs must be on leash, but you and your dog are guaranteed to encounter stunning views along the course of this hike.
3) Lands End Trail
For the quintessential Golden Gate Bridge trails, these next two suggestions are ideal options, based on opposite ends of the bridge. To stay in San Francisco, head to the northwest point of the city at Lands End, where your dog must be leashed or under voice control. The trail begins above the Sutro Baths, extending to the same view golfers enjoy from the Presidio Golf Course. Measuring about 3 miles, this is a calmer hike - but beware of poison oak.
4) Marin Headlands
On the northern end of the bridge, the Marin Headlands are home to great views of the entire San Francisco city skyline. Take one of these trails to enjoy quality time with your dog:
- Coastal Trail to SCA Trail
- SCA Trail to Slacker Trail
- Slacker Trail to Julian Trail
- Julian Trail to Coastal Trail
Dogs must be leashed or under voice control. Prepare for changing weather, such as fog or winds, though we hope you enjoy the hike on a clear and sunny day!
5) Cataract Falls
Head toward Marin and you'll be able to escape into the lush, green forestry of Mt. Tamalpais. Leash your dog for a moderate 2.7 mile hike leading to a wondrous waterfall, best after periods of rainfall. Ranked as one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the area, you won't be disappointed with the view and elevation gain during this trail.
6) Bean Hollow
If you feel like taking a mini road trip, cruise south, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. There you'll brush upon Bean Hollow Beach near Pescadero, known for being one of the few dog-friendly beaches along this stretch of the coast. Bean Hollow has two beach entrances to picnic, fish or wander around, and a trail connecting both beaches. You'll find tide pools to let your furry friends loose on, so they can wander around and discover the many wonders of the ocean!
*Featuring several Decathlonian dogs, but not limited to:
- Wanaka, Lab mix
- Milo, Border Collie / Australian Shepherd mix
- Max, Rottweiler / Pit Bull mix
- Finnley, Golden Retriever / Cocker Spaniel / Chow Chow mix